Opponent to school's move into police station now wants to build £2 million home on site

Proposals for three bedroom eco-house submitted

Friday, 11th March — By Harry Taylor


Hampstead police station was closed in 2013

A LEADING opponent of the Abacus Free School’s unsuccessful move into the former Hampstead Police Station has bought part of the site and wants to turn it into a house.

Todd Berman, the former chair of the Hampstead Hill Gardens residents’ association who helped lead the campaign against the primary school’s plans, now owns the stables behind the Edwardian-era building that dominates Rosslyn Hill. The site is Grade-II listed.

Mr Berman wants to build a three-bedroom house worth more than £2million to sell on the private market.

A planning application lodged with the Town Hall last week sets out proposals for the house to be finished by November with several “eco” features including a heat pump and green roof.

The stables, once used to accommodate police horses at the station, were last used as offices before the police station closed in 2013.

It was sold to the Department of Education in 2014 for £14.1m, with the original intention of providing a home to the Abacus Belsize Primary School set up in the nearby Hampstead Old Town Hall.

However, that scheme was finally ended by a planning inspector in late 2020 over concerns about pollution, traffic, noise and impact on the building’s heritage.

Abacus is now looking to move into part of the Haverstock School site in Chalk Farm from Camley Street.

The police station was vandalised during a party at Halloween 2020, and was then sold to Redington Capital, owned by James Frost who lives in Hampstead, in late October 2021. Plans are to turn it into homes and office space. It appears in turn that Mr Berman has bought the stables to redevelop them.

Former campaigners who spent years trying to get the school to move into the police station are unhappy at the 58-year-old’s bid.

Emily McCarron, who has two children at Abacus said: “Honestly this news is so disappointing and a bit depressing. We have been saying all along that our kids were not the priority, and they are still paying the price for it.

“It’s really hard not to be deeply cynical about the motives and agenda behind some of the people who were opposed to it. Were their objections based around self-interest all along?”

The New Journal has tried to contact Mr Berman, who did not respond to requests for comment.

The application says: “The entirety of the site is in a state of disrepair: The buildings are unsafe and, in some areas, inaccessible due to health and safety concerns.

“The owner is seeking to redevelop the site to maintain its historical character while simultaneously investing to create a model for sustainable regeneration.”

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